Inflammation in your vulva and vagina is a common problem that many women experience. If you have vaginitis, the highly experienced team at Philadelphia Women's Health & Wellness in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, can help. They’re experts in diagnosing the cause of vaginitis and using the most effective treatments to resolve the itching, irritation, and discomfort vaginitis can cause. Call or book an appointment online today.
What is vaginitis?
Vaginitis is inflammation in your vagina. It's a condition that can affect women at any age, but it's most common during your reproductive years. It develops when there's a change in the natural balance of yeast or bacteria in your vagina.
These changes cause inflammation in the tissues lining your vagina, making it feel itchy, irritated, and sore. The most common causes of changes in your vagina's normal balance of yeast and bacteria include:
A common cause of vaginitis in older women is perimenopause and menopause. During this natural phase of your life, levels of the female sex hormone estrogen fall significantly. For many women, this results in vaginal dryness and irritation, which is known as atrophic vaginitis.
Another potential cause of vaginitis is trichomoniasis, an STD spread through infection with a microscopic parasite called trichomonas vaginalis. Symptoms are similar to the ones you get with bacterial vaginosis.
How do yeast and bacterial infections cause vaginitis?
A yeast infection, or candidiasis, is one of the most common vaginal infections. It develops from the candida fungus, which is present in small quantities in healthy vaginas. When there's a change in the number of bacteria that keep yeast in check, the candida fungus starts to multiply. The result is a yeast infection.
Symptoms of a yeast infection include itching and burning in your vulva, which may also be red and swollen. Yeast infections cause vaginal discharge that's typically white, lumpy, and odorless.
Bacterial vaginosis develops when there's an overgrowth of the bacteria you naturally have in your vagina. It differs from yeast infections in that there's a strong, usually fishy odor. Bacterial vaginosis discharge is typically thin and might be gray or green.
What treatments are available for vaginitis?
If your vaginitis is due to a yeast infection, the team at Philadelphia Women's Health & Wellness can prescribe antifungal medication. You can use this as a cream you apply to your vagina, or you can take a course of oral medication.
You need to take antibiotics to treat bacterial vaginosis. You can take these orally or insert an antibiotic cream or gel into your vagina. A single dose of an oral antibiotic should cure trichomoniasis, but your sexual partners also need to take a dose to prevent reinfection.
Topical estrogen cream can improve the tone and lubrication of your vaginal tissues if your vaginitis is due to menopause. To soothe the itching and discomfort vaginitis causes, you can apply soothing creams and use lubricants. You should only ever use products designed for your vulva and vagina to avoid making your vaginitis worse.
To treat the symptoms of vaginitis, call Philadelphia Women's Health & Wellness or book an appointment online today.